Celebrating Seniors on Labor Day
Labor Day is the final hurrah of summer, before temperatures plummet and the fall season takes over. This national holiday has become more about fashion faux pas (think “no white after Labor Day”) and shopping sales than the actual movement that inspired the holiday. This year, rather than getting caught up in the back to school blowouts and summer clearance sales, why don’t you spend time with family and friends instead?
Socializing is good for the heart and mind, and visiting with a senior loved one can be an enjoyable experience for all. Our lives are built on stories and history is defined by the stories that are shared with communities and families. By celebrating the holiday and chatting with a senior, you may learn amazing, new accounts of their life history (and yours).
Ways to Celebrate Seniors on Labor Day
A senior’s connection to the past may also shed light on the labor movement, and foster in you a greater respect and understanding of Labor Day.
Read more about some of the ways you can celebrate this holiday:
1. Have a Family Get Together
Backyard bashes, barbecues and picnics are fun, family-friendly activities that people of all generations can enjoy. If you have a senior who can’t come to you, then why not go to them to enjoy a meal at their retirement or senior living community. Breaking bread with loved ones, while having fun and sharing stories helps to develop a strong family narrative.
A fascinating article in New York Times suggests that people who know more about their family’s history are often more connected, resilient and self-confident. The strong “intergenerational self” that is developed through family storytelling helps to create and build self-assured people, because “they know they belong to something bigger than themselves.”
The best part is that building a family narrative is not difficult to do. Family get-togethers, holidays – even car rides to school or walks to the park – are an opportunity to develop family traditions and “convey a sense of history” that becomes a part of your family’s story.
2. Retell a Family Narrative
Like so many others, consumerism has attempted to take over this holiday and we often forget why we have Labor Day and what the day represents.
Why not spend one final welcome day off work for the season with family and friends, sharing stories and developing your family narrative?
The New York Times sums up perfectly: “if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.”
3. Share Conversation with a Senior
A family get-together to celebrate Labor Day is a fantastic opportunity to learn about your senior loved one’s experience in the work force. Whether positive or negative.
As well, your senior loved one will be able to share the experiences and stories told to them by their own parents and grandparents, allowing the family narrative to run deeper.
Your children may be shocked to learn the foundation of Labor Day as we know it, and that working conditions have not always been as safe and fair as they are today. It will likely be surprising for them to learn that little more than 100 years ago during the Industrial Revolution, “the average American worked 12-hour days, 7 days a week just to make a living wage.” Or that children as young as six years old were forced to work, for a fraction of an adult wage.
How are you celebrating the holiday? Will you be celebrating seniors on Labor Day? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
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